The Parenting Puzzle

In order to maintain a bond with your child that will not unravel or suddenly separate it is important to follow some specific guidelines. Imagine that you and your child fit together like two complex shaped puzzle pieces. Your Parent-Child fit will be strongest when you minimize the forces that pull and push you away from one another and increase the attractive forces that push you together. As a parent, the greater the separation from your child the greater the repulsion forces to separate you further and make you grow apart. You must allow the fit to be voluntary and separable since your child must be allowed to mature into an adult who is not dependent on her parent. Dependency and co-dependency must not be fostered or supported.

The key steps for a good Parent-Child fit include the following: Do not attend to what your child seeks when she is seeking your attention or exhibiting behavior aimed at delaying what you are seeking. Always be consistent in your discipline strategies. Be cautious not to show your hand in terms of what your breaking point is for “giving in”. In order to meet these goals you must set your priorities and establish a parenting budget that allows you to act and not react. This allows you to choose your own battles. Never bluff. Talk without action does not work. Take time to see situations from your child’s perspective and avoid the blame and bitterness game. Start every day fresh and never live in the world of if and when. Live in the world of now.

The strongest forces of attraction for you and your child include the following: Provide and set immediate and specific consequences for her behavior. Make sure the consequences are consistent and focus on rewarding positive behaviors. Punishment should be avoided but if punishment is given try to choose positive punishment rather than negative punishment. A positive punishment concerns giving something to your child rather than taking something away. Generally, punishment creates many problems and it is better to use positive strategies if possible. Focus on rewarding positive behavior and always have a plan in place for how you will respond to misbehavior.